20 August 2007

Restaurant Review: Farrah Olivia (Extended Restaurant Week -> Month)

If you missed Restaurant Week like me (I was in New Jersey while it went by), you need not despair. Check the DC Restaurant Week web-site as several of the restaurants have extended by 1 week, 2 weeks or MORE. Some do the whole month of August! So it's worth finding out if that restaurant that sounds so good but looks so pricey is participating.

It is with this in mind that we went to Farrah Olivia located on Franklin Street in Alexandria this Saturday for lunch. They were booked solid for dinner ($30.07 for a three course meal) but we were able to reserve and it was actually quite quiet for lunch ($20.07 for a three course meal).

FO's website says:
An artistic, modern approach to American, French and African cuisine, served in an environment of simplicity, elegance, balance and vitality.

Ambiance: I'd have to agree... pleasantly simple, elegant, balanced and organic. 25/30.

Service: Knowledgeable without being intrusive. Perhaps a little over-eager: the waitress asked if I wanted a second glass of the South African Chenin Blanc with my entree as I was 4/5ths through the first glass. I said yes and it arrived immediately, before I'd finished the glass I had and several minutes before the arrival of my entree. Still a minor point and a problem I prefer to have to the more common issue of not being able to flag down waitstaff at other establishments. 27/30.

Food: Incredible. A range of textures and flavor combinations that transcend the normal experience. The chef, Morou, who is a native of the Ivory Coast, brings exceptional talent and experience from working in famous kitchens such as I Ricchi and Red Sage. And the pastry chef, Leon Baker, is no slouch either. Both create food that is gorgeous to look at and even better on the tongue. Where I still prefer Bebo and Chef Donna's brilliant creations, this was a most impressive and satisfying meal with unexpected spice surprises that really worked and I have to give it 28/30.

Vegetarian: The restaurant has vegetarian choices including a vegetarian tasting menu
that is slightly less expensive than their regular tasting menu. In addition, the waitress assured us the kitchen could work with restricted diets. 18/30.

Cost: Not cheap. This is why we went on Restaurant Week. Still, when I think about how many mediocre meals I've had for the same price or more it makes me fume. This is top quality food, ingredients, presentation and flavor! Worth the extra splurge once in a while (or more if you can afford it.) 22/30.

Bonus: Standards sung by Nat King Cole and Johnny Mathis on the sound system and on-street as well as private parking (with Balducci's, I believe). +5 points.

Overall: 25/30.

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